University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Research Project

Demonstrating Effects of Biological and Mechanical Compaction Best Management Practices on Soil Properties and Water Movement

Looking at Soil Compaction Practices on the Farm

Soil compaction can be a significant yield-limitation and conservation concern. Compacted soils often result in poor drainage, increased runoff, reduced soil aeration, and decreased root penetration and subsequent plant-access to available soil moisture. The compaction problem is common on many farms, especially in cool, humid regions of the country with a relatively short growing season (like the Northeastern U.S.). To remediate deep compaction, producers often employ deep tillage, or subsoiling, in an effort to loosen soil to reduce bulk density and allow for deeper root penetration and improved percolation of soil water. Management practices that involve less soil disturbance, such as cover cropping and no-till, can also help remediate and prevent compaction by improving overall soil health and 'bio-drilling'. Demonstrating user-friendly and inexpensive on-farm soil moisture monitoring, and its meaningfulness to compaction prevention, is needed by farmers working to improve soil health. This project will demonstrate how soil health, and specifically structure, available water capacity, and ability to transmit water, are influenced by management practices intended to alleviate compaction.

Principal Investigator

Project Team

  • Juan P. Alvez, Pasture Program Technical Coordinator, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    802-656-6116
    jalvez@uvm.edu

  • Rico Balzano, Agronomy Outreach Professional, UVM Extension Champlain Valley Crops, Soils & Pasture Team
    802-388-4969, ext. 338
    rico.balzano@uvm.edu

  • Jeff Carter, Agronomy Specialist,UVM Extension Champlain Valley Crops, Soils & Pasture Team
    802-388-4969, ext. 332
    jeff.carter@uvm.edu

  • Jenn Colby, Pasture Program Coordinator, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    802-656-0858
    jcolby@uvm.edu

  • Josef Gorres, Associate Professor, UVM Dept. of Plant & Soil Science
    802-656-9793
    josef.gorres@uvm.edu

  • Kimberly Hagen, Grazing Outreach Specialist, UVM Extension Center for Sustainable Agriculture
    802-656-3834
    kimberly.hagen@uvm.edu

Funder:

USDA NRCS

Dates:

9/30/14 - 9/30/17

For more information:

Joshua Faulkner UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture(802) 656-3495

Last modified May 12 2015 11:00 AM